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Training for Internet teaching

April 30, 2007

Hello again,

I have written recently about the growing trend toward delivering courses over the Internet. The general feeling seems to be that this trend will grow, with both traditional schools offering an Internet component to courses and individual teachers working independently. As with all new ventures...

... the pioneers experiment and the initial phase is unstructured and no common standards are apparent. But then the need for some kind of quality assurance becomes necessary to protect learners from exploitation. The question I want to raise is should teachers have specific training in delivering e-learning?

The British Council awarded a prize for innovation in ICT recently to a course designed by Consultants-E to offer teachers just that.

The ICT in the Classroom course looks at a range of useful technology-related skills and tools which are immediately applicable in the classroom. ICT areas explored in the course include: planning and teaching with the Internet, search techniques, designing webquests, using text and voice chat with learners, and blogs.

It could be an add-on for newly-qualified entry level teachers wishing to increase their employment opportunities or for experienced teachers who wish to expand their repertoire and qualifications while gaining some experience in online learning.

The first course takes ten weeks from Tuesday, May 15, 2007. Participants spend 4 - 6 hours per week on online individual and collaborative group work, including offline reading and reflection. The course covers:

    learning to effectively use a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment)
    becoming familiar with search and evaluation skills for Net resources
    analysing and developing lesson planning and materials preparation skills
    exploring the theory and practice of webquests
    experiencing text and voice chat as a classroom tool
    a variety of blog types
    the skills needed for working effectively with students online
    creating a final technology-based lesson plan, putting it into practice and reflecting on the experience.

The course is taught entirely online using the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) Moodle. This course is quality-assured by Trinity College London and participants will receive a Certificate that includes the Trinity logo, on successful completion of the course. Successful completion of the course is defined as completing 80% of the course work, and completion of the final course project, to an acceptable standard.

Enrolment is at: http://www.theconsultants-e.com/enrol/index.asp?id=8. I don’t know of another course of this status: the Trinity College imprimatur obviously lends it credibility and the British Council clearly find it impressive. Whether the training would increase a teacher’s likelihood of success in the online teaching world is another matter. Let me know what you think.

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